Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Sheriff’s cruiser strikes teen bicyclist

An on-duty Wood County Sheriff’s deputy reportedly struck a bicyclist on Ohio 582, at 1 a.m. on July 12. The accident is being investigated by the Ohio Highway Patrol. According to Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, Deputy Tyler Petree was on Route 582 near Forst Road when the cruiser he was driving struck a 17-year-old bicyclist. Wasylyshyn said the deputy reported the bike had no reflectors or lights. “Actually, he thought he hit a deer,” the sheriff said. The teen was transported by Middleton Township EMS to University of Toledo Medical Center. The accident is being handled by the state patrol to avoid any perception of bias, Wasylyshyn said.


BG frustration builds over Nexus pipeline concerns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials are tired of getting the brush off by the Nexus pipeline, by the Ohio EPA, and by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But it appears that getting anyone in authority to listen may take more money than the city can afford – and even then the results are not guaranteed. The major concern is that the 36-inch high-pressure natural gas line will be located close enough to the city’s water treatment plant along the Maumee River, that any accidents could have horrific consequences to the water quality. The city has called in experts and sent letters expressing concerns to many state and federal officials. During City Council meeting Monday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards held up files of information he had collected on the pipeline issue. “This is enough to choke a horse,” he said of all the paperwork. “I take it all very seriously,” Edwards said. “I’m frankly, not giving up at all.” Other efforts are underway to plug the pipeline project. A citizens group is currently collecting signatures to get a charter amendment to protect Bowling Green from the pipeline on the November ballot. (A story on that petition effort will appear later this week on BG Independent News.) Brad Holmes, president of the BGSU Environmental Action Group, who is coordinating the charter amendment effort, asked city officials Monday to file a motion to intervene with FERC. He referred to the Nexus pipeline as a “potential source of disaster.” Neocles Leontis suggested the city also try a different route of asking the Ohio EPA to withhold approval of…


BG not giving up on finding glass recycling solution

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials aren’t giving up yet on finding ways to recycle glass rather than send it to the landfill. Last week, the Bowling Green Recycling Center announced that effective immediately, the facility would no longer be accepting glass. This applies to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. That did not sit well with city officials, who found out about the decision through an email after the decision had been made. “Something like that, it would have been nice to be brought in a little earlier. It would have been nice to phase it in,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator for Bowling Green. City officials have contacted Bowling Green State University’s recycling program, which contracts with Waste Management for pickup of recycling materials. The city and county officials also plan to meet with Owens-Illinois representatives about possible glass recycling options. Fawcett said this morning that city officials realize that glass recycling has been a costly operation for some time. However, paying for glass to be landfilled isn’t cheap either – with dumping costs at about $40 a ton. “We’ve been struggling with it for a long time,” Ken Rieman, of the recycling center, said last week. “Basically, the market conditions are just to the point it’s too expensive to send the glass out.” The center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a…


Back to School Fair provides backpacks with supplies to kids

(Submitted by United Way and Salvation Army) The Salvation Army of Bowling Green and United Way in Wood County are partnered again this year to provide backpacks filled with schools supplies to families with children in need. The local non-profits are sponsoring the Wood County Back to School Fair from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Sign up will be held on the day of the event. Interested families will need to bring their picture ID, and birth certificates, immunization records, or school paperwork for their children, in order to sign up and receive backpacks. As part of the back to school event, local organizations will also provide information about their services and opportunities available to local students and their families. This information will include out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Activities for kids and snacks will also be provided. This event is free and open to the public. Participating agencies include YWCA Girl Scouts, Job and Family Services, Wood Co. Child Support Enforcement Agency, The Cocoon, Women, Infants and Children, with many more to come. If you would like to be a vendor or are an individual interested in volunteering, seeking more information, or wishing to make a donation, please contact  United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390 or the Bowling Green Salvation Army at 419-352-5918.


Public input sought on two designs for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is looking for a green light on one of its two plans for the Wooster Green space being developed in the downtown. On Wednesday, July 19, local residents are invited to a program at the library, where both plans will be described, comments will be sought, and questions will be answered. “Obviously, the committee has worked very diligently on coming up with concepts,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. “We want to know if we’re on the right track.” All of the meetings on the green space have been open to the public, but very few citizens have attended. So the presentation at 4 p.m., in the Wood County District Public Library meeting room, 251 N. Main St., is intended to seek out public opinion on the project. “We would like the public’s response to these proposals,” Callecod said. “We want to make it clear that nothing is in stone at this point.” The two final design options will remain on display in the library until July 27, so people can continue to study and comment on them. Also, starting July 19, a link will be active on the city’s website (www.bgohio.org) for citizens to use to offer input. Both of the two final design options for the 1.2-acre green space where the old junior high used to sit include three features. There will be a stone arched entry at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. There will be a 20 by 30 foot octagon shaped pavilion for performances or…


Paving projects this week in BG

The following paving projects are planned this week in Bowling Green: Napoleon Road: concrete work has been completed.  The final paving and striping is planned to occur in conjunction with the Conneaut Avenue paving. Conneaut Avenue: concrete and drainage work will begin next week, starting at the west end and moving east.  Once concrete work has been completed through the Wintergarden intersection, the paving contractor will mill the asphalt from Wintergarden to Mitchell Road.  That work is anticipated to last two days.  The trench along Conneaut from the waterline project will be repaired once milling is complete.  The paving of the portion of Conneaut from Wintergarden to Grove Street will follow with an anticipated start date around the first week of August. All work and the timeline described above are contingent upon weather and progress of work.  Questions about this should be directed to the Engineering Division at 419-354-6227.


BG School bond issue meets with protest and praise

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The school bond issue faced a little more hostility from residents during the second public forum on the issue Thursday evening. But it also was met with some heartfelt support. Bowling Green City Superintendent Francis Scruci started the forum with an overview on the bond issue for new and renovated school buildings. The evening was heavy on numbers – and some were pretty hefty. In order to raise nearly $72 million for the buildings, the district will need to pass a 6-mill bond issue that will go on for 37 years. “It is a big number, there’s no way around saying it,” Scruci said. For the owner of a house valued at $100,000, that means an extra $210 a year. But since the average house value in Bowling Green is $170,000, Scruci said that would add up to $357 a year. And for those on the higher end, with a $250,000 home, the bond issue would mean another $525 a year. Some citizens in the audience said they aren’t against students, teacher or schools – but they just can’t afford the project. “Have you seen the crops under water,” shouted Chris Sabo. Scruci said he realized the cost was high – but so is the reward, he said. “This is an investment in our kids. This is an investment in our community. This is an investment in our future.” But to Sabo, the cost is too high. “Then you’re not going to have a city, cause everybody is going to move out,” he said. “This is a big chunk of money and…


Flooding can contaminate wells – private well owners encouraged to check their drinking water

Wood County Health District is urging residents in and around flooded areas to take precautions to help prevent disease and stay safe. Heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. If you live in an area that was recently or is currently flooded, your private well may be in danger of contamination from pollutants carried in flood waters. Flood waters and runoff may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, agricultural and industrial byproducts and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause water-borne illness. Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination. To avoid illness, it is important for residents and businesses that were impacted by flooding to make sure their water is safe to drink. Any well that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe. People with private water wells who think their well may have been impacted by flooding should contact the Wood County Health District for information on disinfecting and testing water from a well. For information on well chlorination, go to http://www.woodcountyhealth.org/envhealth/private_water.html  


Waterlogged Pemberville and Wayne see worst flooding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As soon as Brad Gilbert entered the room, there were groans. The Wood County Emergency Management Agency director was not on the agenda, so his unexpected arrival at the Wood County Commissioners meeting this morning could only mean one thing. There were problems. They don’t call Gilbert the “grim reaper” for nothing. After 10 inches of rain in some areas of the county this week, the county was overwhelmed. And a revised report from the National Weather Service suggested that the problem would get worse before it got better. “They are predicting a major flood stage tonight into tomorrow morning,” Gilbert said. The biggest problems are being seen in Wayne, where storm sewers couldn’t keep up with the rain, and are expected next to hit Pemberville, where two branches of the Portage River come together in the downtown area. By time the water crests tonight or Friday morning, it will likely be in the basements of the downtown businesses, Gilbert said. Just this morning, Gilbert said, fire crews from Pemberville, Bradner and Wayne had to use a boat to rescue a woman from her home that was surrounded by high water along Ohio 281. “It’s an act of Mother Nature. There’s no way to control it,” he said. And after multiple consecutive days of heavy rains, especially in southern Wood County, the ditches and fields are their limits. “There’s no where for it to go,” Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. The EMA office has been in contact with the Pemberville mayor and fire chief, and has been asked by Wayne officials…


Living History Day honors Wood County’s WWI past

(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center) The 14th annual Wood County Living History Day is Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m., at Oak Grove Cemetery on the campus of BGSU, Bowling Green. Local residents portray citizens interred in Wood County and local cemeteries to promote local history. 2017 Honorees were chosen because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering WWI, which is also being honored with an exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. This event is free and open to the public. “A Joyful Noise” will provide music before the event. Parking is available in the cemetery, as well as on the adjacent BGSU campus. The Wood County Sheriff’s Auxiliary will provide free rides up to the mound where the program will be held.  Chairs are available, although those attending are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. In case of heavy rain, the program will be moved to the First United Methodist Church, 1506 E. Wooster St. The 2017 honorees are: RAY DUDLEY AVERY (1886-1958) – Captain of Bowling Green’s Company H in 1916. Portrayed by Avery’s grandson Marlowe Witt. JONATHAN ELMORE LADD (1863-1930) – School teacher, lawyer, and Prosecuting Attorney for Wood County. Five of his sons served in WWI, with one son killed in action. Portrayed by Peter Fry. ADDIE JENNINGS LADD (1864-1944) – Wife of Jonathan Ladd and mother of Paul Ladd, killed in action during WWI. Addie visited Paul’s grave at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France on the Gold Star Mother’s tour.  Portrayed by Elizabeth Geer-Fry. MARGARET LEHMANN (1875-1954) – Recruited by the American Red Cross to help lead a…


Paws down … pet show was the place to be in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Godzilla the guinea pig managed to upstage the dogs performing tricks at the annual Bowling Green Pet Show Wednesday evening in City Park. The guinea pig, with an alias of the “fuzzmeister,” perched on the hand of his owner, Fran Flores, 15. Fran took aim with her finger, said “bang,” and Godzilla dramatically fell backwards and played dead. The judges seemed stunned by the performance, and one said “bang” to test the guinea pig – and once again Godzilla collapsed upon command. The guinea pig stole the show from the dog who waved with his paw, and the other who weaved in between her owner’s legs as she walked, spun in circles and then played dead. The dogs were no match for the furry rodent. More than 60 pets were walked, carried or dragged to City Park for the annual pet show sponsored by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. There were 22 categories for the pets to be judged in, like shaggiest pet, biggest rodent, best dressed pet, and best behaved. No entries competed in the categories of most interesting farm pet, slimiest reptile, or loudest bird. A couple kids did try to win for having pets that looked most like their owners. Sitting on the Needle Hall stage for the competition were judges Tom Sieving, the Bowling Green Police Division’s animal control officer; Joe Fawcett, the assistant municipal administrator; and Melissa Hill, from the Wood County Humane Society. “We don’t take it too seriously,” Sieving said before the competition began. But all the categories weren’t as cut and dry…


BG warns of possible flooding conditions

The City has received roughly five inches of rain over the past few days with more rain forecasted during the evening of July 12 and into tomorrow, July 13. Because of this large amount of repeated rain, storm water systems are at or nearing capacity. Areas that normally do not flood may experience standing water or flood conditions. During large rain events, roads sometimes act as areas of additional storm water retention to allow traditional retention areas, such as ditches and ponds, to drain and accommodate the additional water. When rain falls rapidly and heavily, as it has in recent days, it takes time for this water to enter the system. This is made increasingly difficult due to saturated ground and systems already at capacity. Over the next few days, particularly if additional significant rainfall occurs, residents are reminded to check basement sump pumps and back-ups and be mindful of the potential standing water along roadways. If roads do flood, residents are asked to turn around and not attempt to drive through the water.


Heavy rains turn roads to rivers, lawns to lakes

Heavy rains have turned some roads into rivers and some yards and fields into lakes in Wood County. Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning, areas of the county got 2 to 2.25 inches of rain. That came after Monday’s dowsing of 3 to 3.5 inches of rain in the county, according to Wood County Emergency Management Agency Director Brad Gilbert. “We are very, very wet,” Gilbert said Wednesday morning. “There’s a lot of water standing in the fields. Ditches and streams are at or near capacity.” The Portage and Maumee rivers are experiencing some limited flooding. The levels were headed downward late this morning, but Gilbert expected them to rise again with more rain predicted. Bowling Green and Perrysburg had some street flooding, and power outages were reported in northern Wood County. The Buckeye Phone System experienced problems, leading to the county offices and sheriff’s office to be without phone service this morning. The emergency 911 system remained in service, Gilbert said. Gilbert said he had been in contact with the American Red Cross, just in case there are any emergency needs. “These nice little dry periods in between are helping out a little bit,” he said. “But we’re still looking at a potential of 2 to 3 more inches of rain.”


BG Middle School addition to relieve overcrowding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is facing the challenge of passing a bond issue in November to build a consolidated elementary school and a major reconstruction of the high school. But first, the district has to respond to a more immediate construction need. On Tuesday evening, the board of education voted unanimously to request bids for a $4.15 million expansion of the middle school to relieve serious overcrowding. The plan is to pay for that project with permanent improvement money, so it will be completely separate from the bond issue project. The middle school is the newest building in the district, having been constructed in 2009. But the problem is that it was built to house two grades – seventh and eighth graders. However, when a couple older elementary schools in the district were closed, the sixth graders were also moved into the middle school. The middle school currently houses about 750 students. Unless the building is expanded, the overcrowding issue will worsen in a couple years when an abnormally large class entering fifth grade now reaches the middle school, pushing the student count close to 800. To relieve the overcrowding, another classroom wing is planned. It will be situated to the south and parallel to the existing classroom wing. An open courtyard area will sit between the two wings. The new one-story addition will likely be used for the eighth graders. Construction bids will be opened by the board next month, with construction planned to start by September. The goal is to have the wing open for the 2018 school year. An…


No more glass to be recycled in BG – costs blamed for shattering program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The glass bottles and jars gathering in the garage for recycling may as well be tossed in the trash. Effective immediately, the Bowling Green Recycling Center is no longer accepting glass. This applies to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. It was just last month that a citizen spoke in front of Bowling Green City Council, challenging the body to do more to encourage greater recycling in the city – including more efforts to save glass from being landfilled. Years ago, the recycling center ceased taking glass in curbside bins, but continued to accept it at its drop-off site. But on Tuesday, the officials at the recycling center said that practice was over. “We’ve been struggling with it for a long time,” said Ken Rieman, of the recycling center. “Basically, the market conditions are just to the point it’s too expensive to send the glass out.” The center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a ton. Late last year, the Dayton company raised its shipping costs to $40 a ton, and cut its payments to $10 a ton. The BG center then found a company in Sylvania to take the glass at no cost. However, that agreement ended abruptly, leaving the Dayton site as the only option, Rieman said. “It’s simple economics,” he said, estimating the center shipped out 350 to 400 tons…